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Helping To Hide A Crime Is A Crime

Recovering the money is often a chief priority in fraud investigations

Just like the proverbial person who helps bury a body, a person who helps conceal a white collar crime can likewise be charged with fraud, wire fraud or conspiracy.

Five former executives of a credit card processing company are accused of siphoning more than $11 million through accounting fraud. While the two high-ranking masterminds likely face felony charges, one of the others has settled with the Securities and Exchange Commission to avoid prosecution. In many fraud and white collar cases, the priority for authorities is recovery of the ill-gotten gains.

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Five executives accused of accounting fraud scheme

The SEC alleges that two iPayments senior executives stole $11.6 million over a four-year period through a scheme involving kickbacks for padded invoices, fabricated expense reports, claiming improper compensation and other fraud. An assistant vice president and two other former executives are accused of aiding and abetting the thefts by falsifying the company's books and lying to auditors.

The SEC is asking for repayment of the stolen funds, plus interest and civil fraud penalties. The agency also seeks to bar the five from officer or director positions, a common proviso in white collar fraud cases. One of the ex-executives, John S. Hong, has already reached an undisclosed settlement with the SEC in lieu of criminal charges.

To prove fraud, prosecutors must demonstrate both a criminal act and criminal intent. In determining charges and recommending sanctions, the government also considers the egregiousness of the fraud, the individual's role, the amount of personal gain and any past offenses.

Should you find yourself in the government's cross hairs ...

If you have been questioned by law enforcement or suspect you may be the target of a fraud investigation - even on the periphery - exercise your right to remain silent and consult an attorney. A criminal defense lawyer with experience in fraud and white collar crimes can intervene to possibly influence charging decisions and negotiations, and to assert your rights to due process.

Source: Execs Allegedly Stole $11.6M From Banking Services Company (Bloomberg)

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